Times live (South Africa)

By Tony Carnie

Sihle Zikalala.

Sihle Zikalala.

The resignation of Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife chief executive David Mabunda took a surprise turn on Wednesday when provincial Environment MEC Sihle Zikalala said he had not accepted Mabunda’s resignation.

This comes after the CEO delivered a farewell speech to staff in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday‚ announcing that his decision to leave at the end of this month came after an “amicable” agreement to part ways.

On Wednesday night‚ however‚ Ezemvelo’s parent body – the Department of Economic Development‚ Tourism and Environmental Affairs – said it noted media reports that the Ezemvelo board and Mabunda had reached an agreement for him to step down.

“We want to state categorically that [Zikalala]…has not endorsed the agreement to release the CEO. The MEC has‚ in fact‚ received the submission where the CEO and the board are proposing the CEO’s departure from the entity. The MEC is still applying his mind on the submission and he is engaging with all the parties involved.

“Foremost in our minds is to ensure that Ezemvelo’s capacity to deliver on its mandate is maintained and‚ as such‚ whatever decision we reach on this matter will be informed by what will be in the best interests of Ezemvelo.

“In the meantime‚ Dr Mabunda remains the CEO of the entity and we would like to assure the people of KwaZulu-Natal and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife stakeholders that the entity is stable and is currently seized with executing its mandate‚” Zikalala said.

Mabunda had delivered a three-page farewell address to staff earlier this week‚ outlining his reasons for leaving and also thanking Zikalala for “allowing me this rare opportunity and privilege of leading Ezemvelo” for the past three years.

Approached for clarity on the matter on Wednesday night‚ Mabunda declined to comment.

It is understood that Mabunda’s formal contract only expires in November next year and that there may be disagreements over his final settlement package.

His predecessor‚ Bandile Mkhize‚ left with a golden handshake in 2015‚ despite being suspended in the wake of a damning government task team report on massive salary hikes tor top executives.

– TimesLIVE